When 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell?a fixture among the top 20 golfers in the world for the past three years?needs a bit of swing advice, he often turns to his friend and frequent playing partner, John O'Leary. The head of his eponymous Golf Academy, O'Leary began coaching after experiencing his own share of success in the professional ranks, where he won 15 PGA and mini-tour events and earned a berth in the 2007 PGA Championship. While he occasionally jousts putters with some of the world's top golfers, John's instructional style embraces players of all ages and abilities. With an emphasis on fundamentals and fun, he helps golfers hone everything from swings that produce long, straight drives to strokes that consistently hole short putts. John also makes use of V1 Video Swing analysis and CG2 Launch Monitor by Foresight Sports during lessons, camps, and clinics, allowing his students to see their swing firsthand and determine if they missed a belt loop.
The one-hour golf lesson, which includes all course or practice-facility fees, requires golfers to bring their own clubs to have their golf needs assessed and addressed by a PGA-certified instructor. The private schooling may include tips on proper alignment, grip, posture, ball position, swing mechanics, and more. Cloud 9 has partnered with golfing professionals and tee-off locales all over the country, including five courses in the DC area—Old Hickory Golf Club, Reston National Golf Course, Pleasant Valley Golf Club, Top Golf Alexandria, and Needwood Golf Course.
The Callaway Performance Center harnesses the know-how of its in-house experts and the latest in tracking technology to give you an intensely thorough swing session that can help you avoid sand traps and quicksand traps. Swing and club performance are monitored by the Callaway Performance Analysis System, the same technology used by Phil Mickelson, and the certified club specialists help clients interpret the resulting data. A ball flight simulator also displays results on large virtual golf course that’s free of real-world distractions like drag racing blimps and banner planes announcing celebrities’ most recent adoptions. Great for green-traversing veterans and golf neophytes alike, a custom club analysis promises to precisely determine your eighteen-hole needs.
DC Social Sports Club encourages athletes of all abilities to join socially oriented leagues for more than 10 recreational sports at various DC-area locations. Competitors can throw tight spirals in one of the club’s Arlington-based flag-football leagues, run the base paths in coed softball near the Washington Monument, or sweep away subzero dust mites during broomball games in Rockville.
After games, competitors can squash rivalries and join forces at a league-affiliated, conveniently located bar, where they enjoy happy-hour specials. For those more interested in the social aspect, DC Social Sports Club offers special events such as advance movie screenings, field trips, drinking-game tournaments, and bar crawls.
Augustine Golf Club's award-winning course was sculpted to reflect its natural beauty with its distinctive par 4s sculpted by course architect, Rick Jacobson. Although the greens at Augustine declined for a few years, recent renovations have restored the course to its former glory, once again luring golfers to its babbling streams and forest. Farther north, rivals Augustine's sister course, Raspberry Falls. Course architect Gary Player remarked that the Falls, once an 18th-century plantation, “was made for a golf course.” Inspired by this ideal setting, he dreamed up the links-style course at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, whose meandering brooks, stone walls, and stacked-sod bunkers evoke Scotland, while its vista of the Catoctin Mountains remind players they’re in Virginia.
These golf havens have more than picturesque views in common—they are two of six award-winning courses united by Raspberry Golf Management’s portfolio, which stretches from Virginia to Pennsylvania and skips over to Arizona. Gary Player’s design team for Raspberry Falls included Tim Freeland, who went on to design two of the firm’s other courses: Royal Manchester Golf Links, whose bentgrass fairways sidle up to the Susquehanna River, and Old Hickory Golf Club, a parkland-style course crisscrossed by Beaver Creek. The management company's other gems include The Legacy Golf Resort, where cowboys used to ride their rocking horses around a 7,500-acre ranch, and Bull Run Golf Club, which sprawls across more than 450 acres of meadows and woodlands at the foot of the Bull Run Mountains.
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